Marketing and other business relationships are often dictated by a simple rule of exchange. One person or group of people recognizes a need, then another person or group of people fulfills that need in exchange for another good or service. Money is often a shortcut or an implied promise that acts as a go between for that exchange of communication, but you could go of an entire tangent of economics at that point. What we are getting at is that COVID-19 has ultimately shifted our needs, as well as the methods that we use to fufill them. So, what does this mean for healthcare marketing? We will find out by looking at some of the ways the healthcare industry is adapting to the new situation.
The Increased Need for Therapy in Healthcare
No one likes to admit that they need help for certain things. Asking for help in general is not as black and white as most people like to think of it. One of the biggest examples of this is when people bring up the topic with therapy. Attitudes towards therapy, behavioral science, and mental health have started out in a negative light, and has only recently becoming a more prominent role in the public consciousness and healthcare. Even then it is not seen as a form of preventative care but rather something to be done in the case dire emergencies or when someone’s mental health is in such a state that it can cause harm to others. This creates a stigma of counseling and therapy being something only for “crazy people”.
However, the few leaps and bounds for the field of psychology and therapists have often come from dire circumstances en masse. For example we know that counseling and therapy became in high demand after instances of wartime. Soldiers who served either in Vietnam or Iraq needed therapeutic counseling to process what happened during wartime.There were also increased demands in counseling during the aftermath of other collective traumas, such as mass shootings or the wildfires in California.
So it is not much of a stretch that many people now, during COVID-19, which is a natural disaster, people need to process the tragedy of what is going on. The people who need it the most, however, are healthcare workers. For them, it is not only a disaster, but also a warfront of their own, where they are most likely sleep deprived, overworked, and emotionally drained from watching people get sick and die on a regular basis. This creates a pattern that points to more people than ever needing counselors for at least the next decade.
A great healthcare center or a hospital might want to invest more in the psychology wing to meet this upcoming need for counseling. It could also be a cornerstone for healthcare marketing for hospitals.
The Demand for Cheaper Medical Parts in Healthcare
There is no cure for COVID-19 right now as of today, and if we do get a vaccine developed, the earliest time that we know it could come out within the boundaries of safety and thorough examination is in mid-2021. Until then, we make do with a combination of quarantine equipment and access to air respiration along with around the clock care. All of those things sound daunting, whether it is by itself or utilized altogether. However, the situation in America is more complicated with a combination of odd decisions and a lack of stockpiled equipment since H1N1.
This means we need a lot of equipment like respirators that can be produced cheaply, and distributed to the right people. In an almost perfect timing of this situation the healthcare marketing is looking towards 3D printing as a cost effective solution to get the parts they need en masse. One example is a form of heroism, where a couple of engineers in Italy gathered the blueprints to respirators (much to the chagrin of the original hospital supplier), and made them for their hospital, free of charge.
Given the state of our current economic duress this further creates a need for cheap parts at a low cost, and if there was money and time dedicated to meet those needs, then engineering and 3d printing, which has already come a long way in the medical field, may play a more prominent role. Not only for the sake of healthcare, but can possibly become a keystone for healthcare marketing in general.
People want a message of hope right now, and emergent technology that can at least reduce the biggest problems we face today can easily be spun into a message of optimism.
We are starting to see a pattern of new needs thanks to COVID-19. But that does not mean that all is lost. It just means we need to recognize the new ones that occur, and find a model to meet those needs in an applicable manner. I wouldn’t be surprised if teledoctors are not already talking to psychologists about group sessions for therapy online. I also wouldn’t be surprised if medical engineering will start to become a prominent demand in trades schools and colleges in the next decade. Because like it or not, that is how the healthcare system, nay, any system works. As an exchange of supply and demand.